Unfair and unbalanced
: A commenter points me to a story I missed (because it was on UPI): Thirty-eight Democratic and independent members of Congress want to meet with Rupert Murdoch to complain that FoxNews is nice to Republicans.
“The responsibility of the media is to report the news in an unbiased, impartial and objective manner,” the letter reads.
Who says? No, really, who says that is the “responsibility of media”?
That is an American assumption of recent vintage. Media got started with pamphleteers grinding axes, eh? Only in fairly recent history has “objectivity” been a prime directive of news — which is only a subset of media — and that is being cast aside these days as the audience — the people — gravitate toward news with attitude, whether that attitude is FoxNews’ or the Guardian’s. (By the way, if you broaden this past news to media, as these guys do, then what they say should also hold for Fahrenheit 9/11 and OutFoxed. They are media, too.)
Here are members of Congress acting as if there is a law that media — not just news — has a responsibility to be unbiased, impartial and objective. And they practically threaten Murdoch with the force of law:
The letter’s co-signers include Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., a member of the House Democratic Leadership, Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee, and Rep. Pete Stark, D-Calif., ranking member on the Joint Economic Committee.
A spokesman for Rep. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said there were legislative avenues that the group could pursue as a secondary measure but declined to speculate on what those might be.
Is that a threat? Sure sounds like it.
This is why I object so strenuously to FCC regulation of speech and media, whether that is Howard Stern or FoxNews, whether that’s what you can hear on the radio or next see on cable or next read on the Internet. It’s none of government’s business to regulate what we say. That’s why we have a First Amendment, remember?
Rupert Murdoch starts a station that has a viewpoint and he puts it on cable, which — remember — is not under the control of the FCC.
If these guys don’t like that, then what about AirAmerica, which is on public airwaves, which are regulated by the government? If they think government should regulate what Murdoch can say on cable, don’t they realize that they set the precedent for government to regulate what AirAmerica says on broadcast… or what you and I say on the Internet.